Dr. Heiser’s minimal recommended reading

Recommended Reading

This page is a minimalist listing of books Dr. Heiser recommends on various subjects. Since Dr. Heiser is active in trying to inject sound thinking into fringe topics and pseudo-history via his Peeranormal podcast and FringePop321 YouTube channel, this list includes fringe topics. Inclusion does not mean wholesale endorsement of the contents of any item except his his own work.

With respect to his own research, the bibliography for items covered in Dr. Heiser’s book, The Unseen Realm, is voluminous. Dr. Heiser’s personal bibliography for that research is currently at 6,200 entries. Aside from bibliographic items in The Unseen Realm, readers are directed to the companion website for the book. With respect to the divine council, readers are encouraged to visit his website for that subject and the archive located at this website.

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The Anxieties of Calvinism — Experimental Theology

I recently finished reading George M. Marsden’s excellent biography of Jonathan Edwards. Highly recommended. Edwards is often described as one of America’s greatest theologians, if not our greatest theologian, but since Edwards was both a Puritan and a staunch Calvinist, two things that don’t hold great allure for me, I’d never given him much of…

The Anxieties of Calvinism — Experimental Theology

Why Read the New Testament Greek?


“…solid knowledge of Greek will produce a lifetime of benefits both to us and to those we can influence.”

Greek For Life, Kindle Loc. 241

In reading Greek for Life1, I learned the importance of reading the New Testament in Greek. Much of the reasons stated in the book are I think obvious for those who have been reading the Greek New Testament. Greek is the Language of the New Testament. The real New Testament is the Greek New Testament. Giving importance to the Biblical languages is necessary in order to value the gospel. Greek Increases Our Ability to Rightly Interpret the Bible. Greek saves Time in Ministry. Your time to check all the available tools and resources to properly exegete a Biblical text is reduced since you can read Greek and understand the author’s thought flow. Lastly, Greek demonstrates the Importance of God’s Word.

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Mark 13:8-13 NIV w/Greek transliteration

What we are looking at: verse number, what (part) of the verse it is, then the NIV Translation, underneath is the Greek transliteration (pronunciation). This is a little bit of an eyesore, I hope this is useful.

8     a     Prediction     Nation will rise 
garethnos egerthēsetai
against nation
     b     Prediction     and kingdom against kingdom
     c     Prediction     There will be earthquakes 
in various places
kata topous
          Supplied     and 
     d     Prediction     famines
     e     Pronouncement     These are the beginning of 
tauta  archē 
birth pains. 
9     a     Command     You must be on your guard
deblepete hymeis heautous
     b     Prediction     You will be handed over to
hymas  paradōsousin eis
 the local councils 
     c     Prediction     and flogged in the synagogues.e 
kaidarēsestheeis synagōgas
     e     Cause     On account of me you 
kaiheneken  emou 
will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them
 stathēsestheepihēgemonōnkaibasileōneismartyrion autois
10          Pronouncement     And the gospel must first be 
preached to all nations
kērychthēnaieispantata ethnē
11     a     Co-occurrence (11b-11c)     Whenever you are arrested 
kaihotanhymas agōsin
and brought to trial
     b     Command (Neg.)     do not worry beforehand 
about what to say
 ti lalēsēte
     c     Suggestion     Just 
     e     Command     say 
     d     Topic (e)     whatever is given you at 
ho ean dothēhyminen
the time
     f     Reason (11a-11e)     for it is not you speaking
gar esteouhymeishoi lalountes
     g     Reason (11a-11e)     but the Holy Spirit.f 
allatoto hagionpneuma
12     a     Prediction     Brother will betray brother to 
kaiadelphos paradōseiadelphoneis
     b     Prediction     and a father his child
kai patēr teknon
     c     Prediction     Children will rebel 
kaitekna epanastēsontai
against their parents and have them put to death.g 
epi goneiskai autousthanatōsousin  
13     a     Prediction     Everyone will hate 
     b     Cause     because of me,h 
dia toonomamou
     c     Topic (d)     but the one who stands firm
deho  hypomeinas 
 to the end 
eis telos
     d     Result     will be saved.i 
houtos  sōthēsetai


See Mt 10:17


Mt 10:19, 20; Lk 12:11, 12


Mic 7:6; Mt 10:21; Lk 12:51–53


See Jn 15:21


See Mt 10:22

The New International Version (Mk 13:8–13). (2011). Zondervan.

Mark 13:8-13 (LDGNT) w/extensive notes on the Greek from the UBS Handbook

Bruce, F. F. (2005). Bible History Atlas (Study Edition, p. 72). Carta Jerusalem.

Mark 13:8–13 (LDGNT)
8ἐγερθήσεται γὰρ ἔθνος ἐπʼ ἔθνος καὶ βασιλεία ἐπὶ βασιλείαν ἔσονται σεισμοὶ κατὰ τόπους ἔσονται λιμοί ἀρχὴ ὠδίνων ταῦτα
9βλέπετε δὲ ὑμεῖς ἑαυτούς παραδώσουσιν ὑμᾶς εἰς συνέδρια καὶ εἰς συναγωγὰς δαρήσεσθε καὶ ἐπὶ ἡγεμόνων καὶ βασιλέων σταθήσεσθε ἕνεκεν ἐμοῦ εἰς μαρτύριον αὐτοῖς
10καὶ εἰς πάντα τὰ ἔθνη πρῶτον δεῖ κηρυχθῆναι τὸ εὐαγγέλιον
11καὶ ὅταν ἄγωσιν ὑμᾶς παραδιδόντες μὴ προμεριμνᾶτε τί λαλήσητε ἀλλʼ ὃ ἐὰν δοθῇ ὑμῖν ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ὥρᾳ τοῦτο λαλεῖτε οὐ γάρ ἐστε ὑμεῖς οἱ λαλοῦντες ἀλλὰ τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον
12καὶ παραδώσει ἀδελφὸς ἀδελφὸν εἰς θάνατον καὶ πατὴρ τέκνον καὶ ἐπαναστήσονται τέκνα ἐπὶ γονεῖς καὶ θανατώσουσιν αὐτούς
13καὶ ἔσεσθε μισούμενοι ὑπὸ πάντων διὰ τὸ ὄνομά μου ὁ δὲ ὑπομείνας εἰς τέλος οὗτος σωθήσεται

Runge, S. E. (2008–2014). The Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament (Mk 13:8). Lexham Press.

Commentary on the Greek UBS Handbook Mark 13:8-13 (Extensive Notes)

Mark 13:8

Text After limoi ‘famines’ Textus Receptus adds kai tarachai ‘and tumults’ which is omitted by all modern editions of the Greek text.

Exegesis The first sentence of this verse recalls the language of Isa. 19:2, but is not a quotation of that passage.

egerthēsetai (cf. 1:31) ‘shall be raised,’ ‘shall arise’ in war or hostility.

ethnos (cf. 10:33) ‘people,’ ‘nation.’

basileia (cf. 3:29) ‘kingdom’ In both clauses epi ‘upon’ has a hostile sense, ‘against’ (cf. 3:24–26; Arndt & Gingrich III.1.a.e).

seismoi (only here in Mark) ‘earthquakes.’

kata topous ‘in various regions,’ ‘in different places’ (cf. Arndt & Gingrich kata II.1 a, and topos 1.d).

limoi (only here in Mark) ‘famines.’

archē ōdinōn ‘a beginning of birth-pangs,’ ‘the beginning of travail.’

archē (cf. 1:1) ‘beginning,’ ‘start.’

ōdin (only here in Mark; cf. //Mt. 24:8; cf. Acts 2:24, 1 Thess. 5:3) ‘birthpang,’ ‘pain (the mother suffers) in childbirth.’ As a technical phrase in apocalyptic literature, ‘the beginning of birth-pangs’ are the terrors and torments that precede the coming of the Messianic age.

Translation Nation is translatable as ‘tribe’ or ‘people,’ the largest group which is recognized by the people as an in-group, that is, as having mutual bonds of responsibility; the size of such groups will differ greatly in different areas.

Kingdom may be rendered as ‘government’ in some languages, or as ‘rulers’ in others, since an abstract entity such as a ‘kingdom’ or ‘government’ cannot be spoken of as participating in such a process as ‘rising up against.’ On the other hand, people can be so described.

Rise against means ‘to make war against’ or ‘to fight against.’

In most places there are quite adequate terms for earthquakes. Where necessary, however, one can always describe such an event as ‘the earth shakes’ or ‘the ground moves violently.’

Famines are of frequent enough occurrence in most parts of the world, but the term can always be rendered as a phrase, e.g. ‘people will not have food to eat.’

This must be translated as ‘these’ in some languages or the reader will understand that only the last event, namely, the famines, is involved. Hence, one may render this phrase ‘these are just the beginning.…’

In some languages beginning cannot be treated as a noun (cf. 1:1), and hence the entire sentence may require recasting, e.g. ‘these sufferings are just the first.’

Mark 13:9

Exegesis blepete de humeis heautous (cf. v. 5) ‘but you watch out for yourselves.’ The personal pronoun humeis is emphatic (cf. Gould).

paradōsousin (cf. 1:14) ‘they will deliver up to trial’.

eis sunedria kai eis sunagōgas ‘to councils and in synagogues’: the majority of commentators and translations divide these two clauses as does RSV, joining ‘to councils’ with the verb ‘deliver up,’ and ‘in synagogues’ with the verb ‘beat.’ Some, however (cf. Gould, Rawlinson) join both clauses to the first verb, thus: ‘they will deliver you up to councils and synagogues,’ and take darēsesthe ‘you shall be beaten’ independently.

sunedria (here only in plural in Mark; in 14:55, 15:1 the singular refers to the Sanhedrin of the Jews in Jerusalem) ‘councils’: the local councils of the various Jewish cities (cf. Arndt & Gingrich 3).

sunagōgē (cf. 1:21) ‘synagogue.’

darēsesthe (cf. 12:3) ‘you shall be beaten.’

epi hēgemonōn kai basileōn stathēsesthe ‘before rulers and kings you shall stand.’

epi ‘upon’ means here ‘before,’ in the language of law courts (cf. Arndt & Gingrich I.1.a.d).

hēgemones (only here in Mark) ‘rulers,’ ‘governors’: in the Roman system the word was used of the imperial governors of provinces.

basileis (cf. 6:14) ‘kings’: in a general sense, such as used in 6:14 of Herod Antipas.

histēmi (cf. 3:24) ‘stand’ on trial, in judgment.

heneken (cf. 10:7) ‘on account of,’ ‘because’: in this verse heneken emou is to be understood as ‘on my account,’ ‘because of me,’ and not ‘on my behalf’ (as RSV ‘for my sake’ may be understood).

eis marturion autois (cf. 1:44, 6:11) ‘for a witness to them,’ ‘for a testimony before them.’

G. D. Kilpatrick (Studies in the Gospels: Essays in Memory of R. H. Lightfoot, 145–58), following earlier suggestions made by Burkitt and Turner, proposes a change in punctuation and re-arrangement of the clauses in vv. 9–11, as follows:

  “But take heed to yourselves;
  For they will deliver you up to councils and synagogues,
  and you will be beaten before governors and kings,
  for my sake you will stand for a testimony to them and
  among all the Gentiles.
  The gospel must first be preached, and then when they
  bring you to trial and deliver you up, etc.”

As seen, the greatest difference between this punctuation and that normally followed, is that v. 10 is so completely altered as to say nothing about the gospel being preached in all nations. The other changes affect in a smaller measure the traditional reading of these verses. Kilpatrick’s proposal has been subjected to analysis and rejected by Austin Farrer (Journal of Theological Studies NS. 7.75–79, 1956).

Translation Take heed to is likely to be mistranslated since in some languages there are two quite different ways of translating such an expression: (1) ‘watch out for,’ in the sense of being solicitous for yourselves and watching out for your own interests, and (2) ‘be aware of the danger to which you will be exposed.’ The latter meaning is, of course, the correct one here, but a number of translations have used the former, with obvious contradiction with what occurs in the following verse.

They is an indefinite subject, meaning ‘persons’ or ‘some people,’ not ‘the people,’ as referring to the masses, who maintained a relative sympathy for the followers of Christ.

Deliver you up is equivalent to ‘hand you over to’ or ‘grab you and turn you over to trial.’

Councils is translatable in Zoque as ‘where the rulers are’; in Piro a rather involved term meaning ‘where judgments are heard’ is employed. However, ‘councils,’ whether formal or informal, are known in all societies.

For synagogues see 1:21.

You will be beaten may be made active as ‘they will beat you.’

Governors and kings cannot be easily distinguished in some languages where the different classes of rulers are not parallel to classical usage. However, in some instances governors has been translated as ‘rulers’ (who are appointed by some central government or authority) and ‘chiefs’ (who are hereditary rulers).

Bear testimony may be rendered ‘to tell the truth’ (Barrow Eskimo) or ‘to tell what has happened.’

Mark 13:10

Exegesis eis panta ta ethnē ‘in all nations,’ ‘among all peoples,’ ‘to all the Gentiles.’

eis ‘in,’ ‘to’ (cf. Arndt & Gingrich 1.d.b). Moule (Idiom Book, 69) calls the use of eis in this verse equivalent to a pure dative.

ta ethnē in a general sense ‘all nations’; it could, however, have the meaning ‘all the Gentiles.’

prōton ‘first’ is an adverb, modifying the verbal phrase dei kēruchthēnai ‘it is necessary (that) be preached.’ It is generally taken to indicate time, ‘first,’ that is ‘before’ (something happens: in this case, before the End comes): so most translations (cf. also Arndt & Gingrich prōtos 2.a); by some, however, it is taken to indicate degree of rank or importance: cf. Manson, “the first essential”; Synodale tout d’abord; Lagrange “avant tout, tout d’abord”

For dei ‘it is necessary’ cf. 8:31; kērussō ‘proclaim,’ ‘preach’ cf. 1:4; euaggelion ‘the gospel’ cf. 1:1.

Translation For gospel see 1:1, and for preached see 1:4. A typical rendering is ‘the good news must first be announced.’

All nations may be ‘all peoples’ or ‘the people of all different places.’ In the first instance the point of view is the diversity of kinds and in the second the distinction in place, differences which must be carefully observed in some languages.

In the active form, as required by some languages, one may translate as ‘people must announce the good news to.…’

Mark 13:11

Text After ti lalēsēte ‘what you should say’ Textus Receptus adds mēde meletate ‘nor be anxious,’ which is omitted by all modern editions of the Greek text.

Exegesis hotan agōsin humas paradidontes ‘and whenever they arrest you and deliver you up to trial.’

hotan (cf. 11:19) ‘whenever’: here the sense is probably ‘whenever’ (rather than ‘when’), indicating repeated events and not simply one single event (cf. Moule Idiom Book, 133; Arndt & Gingrich 1.a).

agō (cf. 1:38) ‘cause to go,’ ‘lead,’ ‘bring’: in a specialized use, ‘lead away,’ ‘take into custody,’ ‘arrest’ (cf. Arndt & Gingrich 2).

paradidōmi (cf. 1:14) ‘deliver up (to trial),’ ‘turn over to the court.’

mē promerimnate ‘do not be concerned beforehand’: only here does the verb appear in the N.T.

ho ean dothē humin ‘whatever may be given you (by God).’

to pneuma to hagion (cf. 1:8) ‘the Holy Spirit.’

Translation The first clause may be accurately translated as ‘arrest you and hand you over to the authorities to be tried.’

For anxious see under cares 4:18. In this context words for ‘worry’ or ‘concern’ must be specifically applicable to the special anxieties involved, e.g. ‘don’t let your stomach rise up’ (Gurunse), ‘don’t let you mind kill you’ (Navajo), ‘don’t be driven hard,’ a reference to animals being chased in the hunt (Piro).

Is given is a very indefinite passive, requiring in some languages an agent, e.g. ‘God gives you.’

Hour is more idiomatically rendered as ‘at that time’ or ‘on that occasion,’ since ‘hour,’ as a precise unit of time may be quite strange and completely inapplicable to this type of context.

For Holy Spirit see 1:7.

Mark 13:12

Exegesis epanastēsontai tekna epi goneis ‘and children will rise against their parents’: the clause recalls the language of Micah 7:6.

epanistēmi (only here in Mark) ‘raise up against’: in the middle, as here, ‘rise up against.’

goneis (only here in Mark) ‘parents.’

thanatōsousin (14:55) ‘they will put to death,’ ‘they will hand over to be killed.’

Translation Deliver up … to death means ‘hand them over in order to have them killed’ or ‘hand them over so that they will be killed.’

Brother … brother gives rise to certain problems of translation when there are various terms for ‘brother.’ One may, for example, use a generic term such as ‘siblings will hand over siblings.’ On the other hand, where ‘older brother’ and ‘younger brother’ must be distinguished, one may say, ‘an older brother will hand over a younger brother and a younger brother will hand over an older brother.’ In some languages, however, this doubling of the expression is not necessary, since general truths about reciprocal activities may be expressed as ‘older brothers will hand over younger brothers.’ Note, however, that in many instances one must use plural rather than singular forms, in order for the statement to be generally applicable and not merely restricted to a particular event.

Because of the necessity for plural forms, and in some instances for a filling out of the elliptical expressions, one may translate the clause as ‘fathers will hand over their children to be killed and children will be angry with their parents and cause them to be killed.’

Mark 13:13

Exegesis misoumenoi (only here in Mark) ‘hated,’ ‘detested.’

dia to onoma mou ‘because of my name,’ i.e. ‘on account of me’ (cf. v. 9). ‘Because you bear my name’ (Goodspeed; cf. Arndt & Gingrich onoma I.4.c.a); ‘because of your allegiance to me’ (Manson); ‘because you are called by my name’ (Weymouth).

ho hupomeinas (only here in Mark) ‘he who endures,’ ‘he who perseveres,’ ‘he who remains firm.’

eis telos ‘to the end,’ ‘until the end’: either in a general sense, ‘until the persecution and hatred are ended,’ or, in a special sense, ‘until one’s life is ended.’ The context would seem to favor the second alternative. Swete and Taylor take it adverbially, ‘finally,’ ‘completely.’

sōthēsetai (cf. 3:4) ‘shall be saved’ in the theological sense (cf. Taylor, who compares it to 10:26; Lagrange; Arndt & Gingrich 2.b).

Translation You will be hated by all is easily shifted to the active when necessary, e.g. ‘all people will hate you.’

To the end must generally be made somewhat more specific, e.g. ‘to the end of his life.’

Endures is equivalent in some languages to ‘has patience’ or ‘bears the suffering.’

For save see 10:26, but where a subject is required for active, transitive verbs, ‘God’ may be used, e.g. ‘God will save him.’

Bratcher, R. G., & Nida, E. A. (1993). A handbook on the Gospel of Mark (pp. 400–405). United Bible Societies.